Asset-Centric Approach With Refrigerant Management

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Asset-Centric Approach With Refrigerant Management

Why to Have an Asset-Centric Approach With Refrigerant Management?

We are now entering the third refrigerant transition in the past thirty years. For those that have an asset-centric approach to refrigerant management, navigating this journey will prove to be easier, than the ones who don’t.

If you’re unclear as to what I mean by an asset-centric approach to refrigerant management—and many still are—read this post to find out what it is and why you and your team should be using this method in your refrigerant management. 

 

With the Next Refrigerant Transition Underway, Time to Better Define Your Assets

Starting in the 1990s, “Class I” ozone-depleting substances (ODS), including CFCs, were subject to a phaseout schedule by the U.S. EPA. Shortly thereafter, in the early 2000s,  “Class II” ODS, including HCFCs, were subject to a phaseout schedule by the federal government as well.

Ever more stringent regulations from the federal government were then paired with recordkeeping and reporting requirements at the state level, such as with CARB RMP. 

To address these challenges involving increased inventory and data management, facilities were required to innovate solutions that went beyond purchasing and using material to tracking usage and gaining insight on why, how much, and where refrigerant was specifically being consumed.

Now with the passage of the AIM Act comes the phasedown of HFCs and thereby the third refrigerant transition. This could mean change rather soon to how you handle HFCs in the near- and long-term. 


While such past refrigerant transitions proved to be difficult and you may have faced unique challenges in the reporting and documentation process, one significant requirement has transcended throughout such transitions and will remain true throughout the next one:

  • the need to better define HVACR assets;
  • collateralize each piece of the ecosystem; and
  • engage users at every level. 
One significant requirement has transcended throughout refrigerant transitions: The need to better define #HVACR assets. Click To Tweet

Ever more stringent reporting requirements are a sign of an evolving compliance obligation and the present status of compliance obligations can be seen as a minimum requirement. 

In order to be ready for the next level and pending requirements already in the review process, facilities will need to have strong systems in place to accommodate and move past the systemic problems that exist in HVACR and refrigerant management, which brings us to our next point: 

 

Problems Persist in Managing Compliance and Efficiency

Complex and changing regulations; lack of standardization in reporting; a paper-based service industry; and high turnover are just a few of the challenges facilities face in managing compliance, efficiency, and driving value for their HVACR and refrigerant assets. 

Compliance problems impact the bottom line, and facilities across all sectors are seeing an increase in regulatory development and enforcement acton.

Nearly all facilities share common challenges when it comes to compliance and asset performance. The mandate to record and report brings into focus these challenges.

Nearly all facilities share common challenges when it comes to refrigerant compliance and asset performance. Click To Tweet

Challenges

Compliance Energy & Maintenance Asset Value & Scope
No standardized reporting format for compliance data, creating confusion for reporting System transparency with leak data, impacting system performance and efficiency  Limited asset visibility, no equivalent to electronic health records for HVACR assets
Thousands of pages of regulations, burdening system owners to keep up-to-date Leaks lead to energy inefficiency, increasing operational expenditures Large geographic footprints make manually collecting and managing data difficult without intelligent system asset logic
Increased enforcement action, audits, and fines Mixed service industry skill sets, heavily paper-based high turnover  No ability to connect recycled refrigerant use or reclaim to carbon credit market for full lifecycle benefits

At the most basic level, throughout the year, you will want to keep track of refrigerant in the following categories:

  • Installed inventory in systems
  • Refrigerant not in systems but in your ecosystem
  • Gas sent off-site for third party handling / gas handled by third party vendors

Additionally, several recordkeeping and reporting requirements at the federal and state level require more detailed information related to individual appliance use and a leak rate for each appliance in your ecosystem. 

You may find yourself using numerous reports, including an inventory log; service maintenance log; asset / appliance log recovery sheet; new equipment install report; equipment decommission log; and more.

Paper records can take on many forms, and their mere presence can interfere with keeping up-to-date records.

A digital backup is essential in order to scrutinize data and ensure that relevant stakeholders have access to the data for input, review, and reporting. 

The paper process is but a first step and phase one of the reporting process. Records are established that will need to be:

  1. Digitized;
  2. Evaluated / vetted; and
  3. Reports generated / submitted.

The challenges presented with the paper process are concentrated on the manual effort required to compile data into the proper format for analysis and reporting.

As requirements evolve and become more far-reaching and complex, it will become much more difficult to prove compliance with paper documentation alone.

For example, most personnel find it taxing keep on top of paper-based records, and they, at best check up on them on a periodic quarterly basis.

And, by then, as many as 90 days may have elapsed since documents and records were reviewed. What happens then, people are relying on memories to safeguard compliance obligations… 

#RefrigerantGeekTip: Avoid relying on memories to safeguard #refrigerant compliance obligations. Click To Tweet

Thus data confusion and record fatigue occurs. 

At Trakref, we help facilities overcome and solve such challenges by taking an asset-centric approach. It’s the best way to avoid such data confusion and record fatigue.

 

Asset-Centric Approach Solves Systemic Problems in HVACR

To ensure optimal compliance outcomes, assets need to be clear and well-known; there needs to be a shield around assets (not service).

This is done by implementing a logic-driven structured workflow system, like Trakref, to control the manner and means that refrigerant is added, extracted, transferred, etc.

Solutions

Compliance Energy & Maintenance Asset Value & Scope
Push-button compliance for all regulatory agencies Management of supplier, contractor, and technician per EPA certifications Cradle to grave lifecycle tracking per EPA standards
Validate spectrum of transactional movement, reclaim/recycle and disposal of gas assets Bar-code tagging and management of gas inventories Data validation and audit tools
Built-in, standardized compliance reports Leak rate calculations and projections  Mobile app monitors service activity, geolocate assets, captures data on maintenance and operational performance

 

Then, by following a few basic principles, which when enforced, makes compliance effortless:

  1. All assets are tagged.
  2. Cylinders are treated like any other asset.
  3. Engage your vendors in the process and have them enter data into your system or provide you with necessary reports.
  4. Engage your workforce and digitize the data as soon as possible, so that you have fresh records.
  5. Evaluated / vetted; and
  6. Reports generated / submitted.

In essence, everything can be treated as an asset and have an identity in your tracking system.

Knowing the who, what, where, when, and why of the origins of refrigerant use and having this readily accessible by relevant stakeholders is what an asset-centric approach means.

Have questions or want to learn more about an assent-centric approach to refrigerant management?

Join me LIVE next Tues., Feb. 2nd at 1:30pm CST to learn the basics of refrigerant asset stewardship with at our Compliance Open Mic part of the Refrigerant Geek Academy. 

Register now by clicking the button below. 

Register Now

As always, thanks for joining us here on the Trakref blog. 



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